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IPCC chief Pachauri says climate fight “five minutes to midnight”

Humanity has ‘ignored and disregarded’ debts to nature says climate science chief in withering attack on governments

UN climate science chief Rajendra Pachauri says the world is facing imminent disaster unless countries take swift action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking in Delhi on Monday he said: “We have five minutes before midnight,” arguing that governments had historically avoided taking responsibility for global warming.

“We may utilise the gifts of nature just as we choose, but in our books the debits are always equal to the credits.

“May I submit that humanity has completely ignored, disregarded and been totally indifferent to the debits? Today we have the knowledge to be able to map out the debits and to understand what we have done to the condition of this planet.”

He added: “We cannot isolate ourselves from anything that happens in any part of this planet. It will affect all of us in some way or the other.”

Pachauri is head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Later this month the organisation will release the first volume of a new assessment of global warming and its impacts.

Recent leaks of draft copies suggest it will reveal scientists are more certain than ever on the causes of climate change.

The report is also likely to predict that sea levels could rise between 29 and 82 cm (11.4 to 32.3 inches) before 2100, and is also expected to address a recent slowdown of warming.

Countries will gather in Warsaw in November to continue negotiations on a global emissions reduction deal set to be signed in 2015, and rolled out in 2020.

Experts say global emissions of greenhouse gases need to peak this decade if the world is to avoid warming 2C above pre industrial levels, which has been deemed dangerous and could lead to further melting of ice sheets and extreme weather events.

INTERVIEW: Rajendra Pachauri on what IPCC AR5 may reveal

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